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Newcastle United round-up: Benitez contract talks; U23 loss; Freddy Shepherd tribute

Jake Jackman

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Newcastle

The future of Rafael Benitez at Newcastle United is uncertain after the recent transfer window, but the Times report that the club are preparing to open talks over a new contract. They are hoping that it will improve the manager’s relationship with Mike Ashley and it will protect the club as his contract expires at the end of next season. However, the Shields Gazette report that there are no immediate plans to discuss a new deal.

This is a story to follow, especially if Mike Ashley is serious about selling the club. Rafa Benitez is his biggest asset and he needs to make sure that he is committed to the club for the long-term, as it would make Newcastle attractive to potential buyers. The conflicting reports suggest this is far from clear-cut and that the propaganda war between manager and owner remains a problem for the club.

Despite selecting a strong U23 side against Wolves last night, Newcastle fell to a narrow defeat at St James’ Park. Dwight Gayle, Rolando Aarons and Jack Colback all featured for the home side, but they couldn’t deliver the desired result.

It was a good opportunity for the players mentioned to improve their match-fitness and Gayle did score, but it was ruled out for offside. Newcastle will be hoping that the striker is feeling more confident with his body and can get back to his best for the first-team. Although Joselu is leading the line well, he doesn’t have the goal-scoring ability of Gayle.

Former Newcastle United chairman Sir Freddy Shepherd has sadly passed away at the age of 75. The Magpies went to two FA Cup finals under his stewardship and qualified for the Champions League on a number of occasions. The club paid tribute to the former chairman:

“During his time at the club, as both a director and chairman, he had a big part to play in the club’s modern-day history and was a driving force in the redevelopment of our stadium and expanding its capacity to more than 52,000.

“He had a huge passion not just for the club, but for the city and region it represents. Our thoughts at this time are of course with his family and friends.”

This is awful news and it is a great loss for the North East, as he did a lot for the region. Newcastle enjoyed success under his chairmanship and supporters will look back at it with a lot of fond memories. There is likely to be further tribute paid to him this weekend when the team faces Liverpool at St James’ Park.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Newcastle United

Newcastle United fans divided after Nicolai Jorgensen performance

The Danish striker has long been linked with a move to Newcastle United.

Mathew Nash

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Denmark played out a 1-1 draw with Australia in the World Cup this afternoon. A controversial penalty was converted by Aston Villa midfielder Mile Jedinak to give the Socceroos a deserved draw against their European opponents. But the opening goal of the game might have been one of the best in the tournament so far.

Christian Eriksen smashed home a delicious left-foot half-volley to give the Danes the lead. However, it was the assist from a Newcastle United target that had fans talking on social media.

Nicolai Jorgensen played a brilliant reverse pass into the path of Eriksen. The Feyenoord striker has long been linked with Newcastle United. Over the weekend The Sun reported that Newcastle would need to pay £20 million for the player.

Newcastle were previously linked with the player in January, with a £15 million bid being rejected.

(Photo credit should read OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images)

That interest appears to have continued and it is easy to see why. Jorgensen was the Eredivisie’s top scorer in 2016-17, scoring 25 goals in 45 games.

But there is also a case suggesting he is not worth the money. He scored just 13 goals last season and against Peru in the opening game of the World Cup he struggled.

It is clear that scoring goals is not really his specialty. His link-up play is brilliant but some Newcastle fans feel he would simply not score goals in England.

Here is how Newcastle United fans reacted to his display…

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Newcastle United

Newcastle should move for Senegal star M’Baye Niang

Newcastle are looking for attacking additions this summer.

Jamie Watts

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Newcastle United are reportedly in the market for new forwards this summer, according to the Northern Echo, with Rafa Benitez identifying the Magpies’ attacking output as a key weakness last term, despite their impressive 10th place finish. And a new target should emerge from yesterday’s World Cup clash between Senegal and Poland.

The Africans surprisingly came away as victors, having been helped by two massive defensive errors from the European outfit, with Grzegorz Krychowiak’s late goal proving nothing more than a consolation.

Torino striker M’Baye Niang proved to be a thorn in the side of Poland all game, landing the man of the match award, as his pace and power proved too much for Thiago Rangel Cionek and accomplished right-back Lukasz Piszczek to deal with.

Photo: Getty Images

His shining moment came in the 60th minute, when he returned onto the field of play from injury and promptly latched onto a poor back-pass, eventually rounding the out-rushing Wojciech Szczesny and slotting into an empty net – notably scoring his first ever Senegal goal with his first shot on target.

And Newcastle should be keeping an eye on the 23-year-old throughout the tournament. Current targets such as Salomon Rondon and Jordan Ayew are underwhelming for fans and Rafa Benitez could look to make a statement by bringing in the former Watford loanee.

His physicality and raw speed suit the Premier League to a tee, and given regular playing-time the forward could become a sensation in England. However, he has recently agreed to join Torino on a permanent basis, meaning any deal would likely be a loan deal at the moment. A deal is still possible though, as Niang will be likely play second-fiddle to Andrea Belotti next term.

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Newcastle United should rekindle Miguel Layun interest after stunning World Cup performance

The 29-year-old was wanted by Newcastle last summer.

Mathew Nash

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Mexico caused a World Cup shock yesterday, defeating reigning champions Germany 1-0 in Moscow. It was a fantastic performance by El Tri, who decimated the world champions with a fearsome display of counter-attacking football.

There were many performances that caught the eye, with Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Hector Herrera all outstanding. But former Watford man Miguel Layun also put in a tremendous display.

It was one which will hopefully see Newcastle United rekindle their efforts to sign him.

Playing on the right-hand side of midfield he was a constant thorn in the side of Marvin Plattenhardt for Germany. Meanwhile, his impressive ability to work up and down the pitch the entire game left Julian Draxler completely nullified.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Currently contracted to Porto he spent the second half of last season with Sevilla, who have a permanent deal lined up. However, last summer saw Newcastle linked with a move for the player.

Valued at £6 million, Rafa Benitez is reportedly a fan and wanted him to help their survival hopes last term- as reported by Record, among others. No deal ever came off but 12 months down the line Newcastle should try again.

Layun proved against Germany just how impressive an athlete he is. The 29-year-old is also extremely versatile. Capable at both left and right-back, on either wing or even in central midfield he would solve many problems for Newcastle United.

With Sevilla dawdling over a permanent deal for the Mexican the Magpies should consider coming knocking once again.

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